… a journalist for the Times Newspaper in Education
I was a part of the 30-member team of Student Journalists for the Times Newspaper in Education during the year 2017-2018. The Times Newspaper in Education is the children’s edition of The Times of India which is the largest circulating English Daily Newspaper in the world, with a daily readership of 15million.
I got the opportunity to write opinion pieces, cover Literature Festivals, publish my articles and poetry, and discover my love for writing!
LearningsThe year with Times NIE helped me broaden my knowledge base of topics of current affairs, since the topics on which my opinions were sought covered a diverse set. Furthermore, I learnt the art of “speed reading-understanding-precis writing” since I was asked to send my 50-word opinions within 30 mins of receiving the topic. I finally understood that one has to keep on regularly reading on diverse topics and this general knowledge base cannot be built overnight. I decided to make this habit a part of life for myself – perhaps one of the biggest benefits I got from this experience!
The process of selection
My dreams materialised in the 9th grade when my English teacher informed me that I had been nominated to participate in the selection round for being a writer for the Times nie. Those who cleared the first round (which required us to take a 20 question General Knowledge quiz and write an essay on Demonetisation in our country) were nominated to the second round which consisted of interviews with the journalists of the Times of India. Out of the 1400 students who participated from all over Mumbai, 65 were nominated to the second round, and out of the 65 who were nominated to the second round, 30 were chosen to be Star Correspondents(or kid journalists) for the paper… and I was one of them!
The initial training
Our thirty-member team underwent a rigorous two-week class-room training and orientation course at the Times of India office, during our summer holidays. The program started off with a writing course, wherein we were coached in expressing points in brief, gleaning through the news to get the main points, etc. We made day-trips to the offices of News TV channels , Radio channels within the Times group, and learnt about how they extract news from the daily happenings and present it to the public.
Publications over the year
Throughout the year we had to write 50-word opinions about trending topics in politics, sports, literature and technology. We were also allowed to submit our poetry, drawings and essays which were published in Times NIE.This experience helped me to gain confidence and exposure as we had to conduct interviews and submit write ups with deadlines like a real journalist. Here are a few write-ups! In all, I managed to get some 20-odd Opinion pieces and 6-7 articles / interviews / poems published.
Visit to Mahaseer Fish Conservation Hatchery in Lonavala
I got the opportunity to interact with reputed biologists who work for the upkeep of aquatic animals, particularly the cultivation of the Mahaseer fish(a rare species on the verge of extinction). After realising the importance of environmental conservation, I communicated my learnings to the rest of my school in order to spread awareness about our ecosystem. The trip ended on a good note, with the minds of the students filled with knowledge and concern towards the environment.
Coverage of the Times of India Literary Festival in Mumbai
The times of India Literary Festival is one of India’s biggest literary festivals with renowned authors like Shahi Tharoor, Chitra Banerjee Devakaruni, Amish Tripathi, Stephen Kotkin, and Rajdeep Sardesai had intellectual discussions about a plethora of topics ranging from history to politics to technology to economics. Four of my friends and I were chosen to cover this event and I got the opportunity to learn so much through witnessing intellectual debates and discussions and write about them!
Best Star Correspondent award and Certificate of Honour
At the end of the year, I received an award for being in the top 10 Star Correspondents which is given for the year-long contributions from the editorial team and received a special mention in my school’s annual magazine. The journalist team also got featured in The Times of India and other regional newspapers.